If you’re a nature enthusiast or simply someone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Shippensburg, Chambersburg, and Carlisle, Pennsylvania, offer a treasure trove of outdoor activities. These picturesque towns, nestled in the Cumberland Valley, provide an ideal backdrop for outdoor adventures, from hiking to picnicking and beyond. In this guide, we’ll take you on a tour of the best outdoor recreational opportunities in this stunning region.
- Caledonia State Park (Fayetteville, PA): Located near Chambersburg, this park is a hiker’s dream. The Thaddeus Stevens Trail, in particular, offers a challenging and rewarding hike through lush forests. Keep an eye out for the beautiful Rhododendron State Park, as well as a variety of wildlife, including deer and various bird species.
- Kings Gap Environmental Education and Training Center (Carlisle, PA): Kings Gap boasts a network of well-maintained trails with breathtaking vistas of the Cumberland Valley. The two-mile Mansion Overlook Trail leads to an impressive stone mansion with an adjoining garden, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely hike and a picnic.
- Shippensburg Rail Trail (Shippensburg, PA): This rail trail runs through the heart of Shippensburg and is perfect for a casual walk or bike ride. With a mix of urban and rural scenery, it’s a great option for families and those looking for a milder outdoor experience.
Parks and Picnic Spots
- Memorial Park (Chambersburg, PA): This 37-acre park is an excellent place for picnicking, with ample picnic tables and shelters. It’s a fantastic location for family outings and features a playground for children.
- Doubling Gap Lake (Newville, PA): This spot, within Colonel Denning State Park near Carlisle, is perfect for a day of picnicking and swimming during the summer months. Enjoy the serene lake surrounded by lush forests.
- Rowe Run (Shippensburg, PA): Rowe Run offers a peaceful park setting where you can enjoy a relaxing picnic with scenic views. The small creek adds to the charm of this spot.
- Carlisle Events (Carlisle, PA): Known for its automotive events, Carlisle Events hosts various outdoor car shows and swap meets. Even if you’re not a car enthusiast, the lively atmosphere and food vendors make it a fun day outdoors.
- Shippensburg Community Fair (Shippensburg, PA): This annual event brings the whole community together with outdoor activities like tractor pulls, demolition derbies, and a midway filled with rides and games.
- Conococheague Institute’s Heritage Day (Mercersburg, PA, near Chambersburg): Celebrate the area’s history with reenactments, music, food, and heritage craft demonstrations. It’s an engaging and educational outdoor event.
- Colonel Denning State Park (Newville, PA): This park’s diverse habitat makes it a prime location for birdwatching. Keep an eye out for warblers, hawks, and even bald eagles.
- Letterkenny Reservoir (Chambersburg, PA): This serene reservoir is excellent for bird watching, especially for waterfowl and wading birds. Set up your binoculars, and you might spot some of the local avian residents.
- Michaux State Forest (Carlisle, PA): Michaux State Forest is a haven for birdwatchers. Its extensive network of trails offers ample opportunities to spot a variety of species in their natural habitat.
- Shippensburg to Newville Rail Trail (Shippensburg, PA): This 3.5-mile trail follows the old Cumberland Valley Railroad line and is perfect for a leisurely bike ride.
- Cumberland Valley Rail Trail (Chambersburg, PA): This 13-mile rail trail takes you through the beautiful Cumberland Valley countryside. It’s a favorite for cyclists and offers a fantastic outdoor experience.
- LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail (Carlisle, PA): If you prefer a mix of history and cycling, this trail is a must-visit. You’ll pass by old iron furnaces, lush forests, and even the site of a Civil War battle.
So, whether you’re eager to hit the trails, savor a leisurely picnic, or immerse yourself in the vibrant outdoor events, these charming Pennsylvania towns have something for everyone. Get ready to embrace the beauty of nature and create unforgettable memories right here in Shippensburg, Chambersburg, and Carlisle.